047 Vimansaka Sutta

Exposition by Bhikku Bodhi

 The Inquirer

Exposition by Ajahn Brahmali

 

§ 1. THUS HAVE I HEARD.
On one occasion the Blessed One was living at SavatthI in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.” – “Venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:

§ 2. “Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who is an inquirer, not knowing how to gauge another’s mind,482

[482 Parassa cetopariyayam ajanantena, reading the last word with the BBS and SBJ eds. rather than with the PTS ed. as ajanantena, which gives the positive sense “knowing.”  In the context the negative is dearly required, since the bhikkhu who cannot know by direct cognition of the Buddha’s mind that he is fully enlightened must arrive at this conclusion by inference from his bodily and verbal behaviour and the other evidence adduced by the sutta]  

should make an investigation of the Tathagata in order to find out whether or not he is fully enlightened.”

§ 3. “Venerable sir, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One, guided by the Blessed One, have the Blessed One as their resort. It would be good if the Blessed One would explain the meaning of these words. Having heard it from the Blessed One, the bhikkhus will remember it.”
“Then listen, bhikkhus, and attend closely to [318] what I shall say.”
“Yes, venerable sir,” the bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

§ 4. “Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who is an inquirer, not knowing how to gauge another’s mind, should investigate the Tathagata with respect to two kinds of states, states cognizable through the eye and through the ear thus: ‘Are there found in the Tathagata or not any defiled states cognizable through the eye or through the ear?’483

[483 Bodily actions are ” states cognizable through the eye.” Words are “states cognizable through the ear.” MA: Just as one infers the presence of fish from the rippling and bubbling of water, so from a defiled action or utterance one infers that the mind originating it is defiled.]

When he investigates him, he comes to know: ‘No defiled states cognizable through the eye or through the ear are found in the Tathagata.’

 § 5. “When he comes to know this, he investigates him further thus: ‘Are there found in the Tathagata or not any mixed states cognizable through the eye or through the ear?’484

[484:- MT: “Mixed states” (vitimissa dhamma) refers to the conduct of one who is engaged in purifying his conduct but is unable to keep to it consistently. Sometimes his conduct is pure or bright, sometimes impure or dark]

When he investigates him, he comes to know: ‘No mixed states cognizable through the eye or through the ear are found in the Tathagata.’

§ 6. “When he comes to know this, he investigates him further thus: ‘Are there found in the Tathagata or not cleansed states cognizable through the eye or through the ear?’ When he investigates him, he comes to know: ‘Cleansed states cognizable through the eye or through the ear are found in the Tathagata.’

§ 7. “When he comes to know this, he investigates him further thus: ‘Has this venerable one attained this wholesome state over a long time or did he attain it recently?’ When he investigates him, he comes to know: ‘This venerable one has attained this wholesome state over a long time; he did not attain it only recently.’

§ 8. “When he comes to know this, he investigates him further thus: ‘Has this venerable one acquired renown and attained fame, so that the dangers [connected with renown and fame] are found in him?’ For, bhikkhus, as long as a bhikkhu has not acquired renown and attained fame, the dangers [connected with renown and fame] are not found in him; but when he has acquired renown and attained fame, those dangers are found in him.485

[485  ;  MA: The dangers are conceit, arrogance, etc. For some bhikkhus, as long as they have not become well known or acquired a following, these dangers are not found, and they are very calm and quiet; but when they have become famous and have acquired a following, they go about behaving improperly, attacking other bhikkhus like a leopard pouncing on a herd of deer.]

When he investigates him, he comes to know: ‘This venerable one has acquired renown and attained fame, but the dangers [connected with renown and fame] are not found in him.’

§ 9. “When he comes to know this, [319] he investigates him further thus: ‘Is this venerable one restrained without fear, not restrained by fear, and does he avoid indulging in sensual pleasures because he is without lust through the destruction of lust?’ When he investigates him, he comes to know: ‘This venerable one is restrained without fear, not restrained by fear, and he avoids indulging in sensual pleasure because he is without lust through the destruction of lust.’

§ 10. “Now, bhikkhus, if others should ask that bhikkhu thus:

‘What are the venerable one’s reasons and what is his evidence whereby he says: “That venerable one is restrained without fear, not restrained by fear, and he avoids indulging in sensual pleasures because he is without lust through the destruction of lust”?’ –
answering rightly, that bhikkhu would answer thus:

‘Whether that venerable one dwells in the Sangha or alone, while some there are well-behaved and some are ill-behaved and some there teach a group,486

[486 MA: The opposite of those who teach a group – those who dwell detached from a group – though not mentioned, should be understood.]

while some here are seen concerned about material things and some are unsullied by material things, still that venerable one does not despise anyone because of that.487

[487 MA: This passage shows the Buddha’s impartiality (tadi bhava) towards beings: he does not· extol some and disparage others.]

And I have heard and learned this from the Blessed One’s own lips: “I am restrained without fear, not restrained by fear, and I avoid indulging in sensual pleasures because I am without lust through the destruction of lust.'”

§ 11. “The Tathagata, bhikkhus, should be questioned further about that thus: ‘Are there found in the Tathagata or not any defiled states cognizable through the eye or through the ear?’

The Tathagata would answer thus: ‘No defiled states cognizable through the eye or through the ear are found in the Tathagata.’

§ 12. “If asked, ‘Are there found in the Tathagata or not any mixed states cognizable through the eye or through the ear?’ the Tathagata would answer thus: ‘No mixed states cognizable through the eye or through the ear are found in the Tathagata.’

§ 13. “If asked, ‘Are there found in the Tathagata or not cleansed states cognizable through the eye or through the ear?’ the Tathagata would answer thus: ‘Cleansed states cognizable through the eye or through the ear are found in the Tathagata. They are my pathway and my domain, yet I do not identify with them.’488

[488 No ca tena tammayo. MA glosses: “I do not identify with that purified virtue, I am without craving for it.]

§ 14. “Bhikkhus, a disciple should approach the Teacher who speaks thus in order to hear the Dhamma. The Teacher teaches him the Dhamma with its higher and higher levels, with its more and more sublime levels, with its dark and bright counterparts. As the Teacher teaches the Dhamma to a bhikkhu in this way, through direct knowledge of a certain teaching here in that Dhamma, [320] the bhikkhu comes to a conclusion about the teachings.489


[489 So tasmim dhamme abhinnaaya idh ‘ekacamdhammam dhammesu nittham gacchati. In order to convey the intended meaning l have rendered the second occurrence of dhamma here as “teaching,” i.e., the particular doctrine taught to him, the plural dhammesu as “teachings,” anμ tasmim dhamme as “that Dhamma,” in the sense of the total teaching. MA and MT together explicate the meaning thus: When the Dhamma has been taught by the Teacher, by directly knowing the Dhamma through penetration of the path, fruit, and Nibbana, the bhikkhu comes to a conclusion about the preliminary teaching of the Dhamma on the requisites of enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya dhamma)]

He places confidence in the Teacher thus: ‘The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Sangha is practising the good way.

§ 15. “Now if others should ask that bhikkhu thus: ‘What are the venerable one’s reasons and what is his evidence whereby he says, “The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Sangha is practising the good way”?’ –

answering rightly, that bhikkhu would answer thus: ‘Here, friends, I approached the Blessed One in order to hear the Dhamma. The Blessed One taught me the Dhamma with its higher and higher levels, with its more and more sublime levels, with its dark and bright counterparts. As the Blessed One taught the Dhamma to me in this way, through direct knowledge of a certain teaching here in that Dhamma, I came to a conclusion about the teachings. I placed confidence in the Teacher thus: “The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Sangha is practising the good way.'”

§ 16. “Bhikkhus, when anyone’s faith has been planted, rooted, and established in the Tathagata through these reasons, terms, and phrases, his faith is said to be supported by reasons, rooted in vision, firm;490 it is invincible by any recluse or brahmin or god or Mara or Brahma or by anyone in the world. That is how, bhikkhus, there is an investigation of the Tathagata in accordance with the Dhamma, and that is how the Tathagata is well investigated in accordance with the Dhamma.”

That is what the Blessed One said.
The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s